Sunday, September 29, 2013

2013 Films: While It Lasts

While It Lasts by Marc Kornblatt
Madison, WI (Milwaukee Premiere)
Running Time: 11  Minutes
Screening Time: Oct 26th  3:15pm

Tickets $10.00 Buy Tickets Here:

At 81, Jamie Ross, a retired art professor lives in a falling down studio crammed with his own work and thousands of objects he has collected over the decades. His current passion is rescuing intriguingly shaped tree limbs from his wood pile and turning them into finely polished shapes adorned with some of his favorite words, such as 'seemlessness.' One rain-soaked afternoon, as water drips from the ceiling, he shares his thoughts on the meaning of art and his own mortality.

 Director Statement
The moment I walked into Jamie Ross's art studio, in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, I thought it would make a great setting for a film. I was thinking narrative, perhaps a murder mystery, or some kind of Gothic tale. The deteriorating, barny space, crammed with original art and artifacts from around the world, the piled-up garbage and dust-covered surfaces would have cost a great deal of money to create, and here it was totally camera-ready. To add to the allure of the project, Jamie seemed game.

My plans changed once I got to know this quirky man who, at 81, was a working artist, and a hoarder. Genuine and cordial from the start, Jamie had the gift of gab and a sense of humor that won me over. I decided to forgo fiction and instead create a lasting record of Jamie's artwork and workplace, letting him talk about his life philosophy and himself as he pleased.

The inclement weather on the day we shot the film, the studio's gritty ambiance and Jamie's narration inspired me to compose a score that pays homage to Erik Satie's Gymnopedies. In my short pieces, I have tried to capture what the viewer sees and hears on screen, coming away, hopefully, with a sense of Jamie's spirit and world, as well as a colorful work of art.

Production Notes
"When It Rains..."
The day I brought my cameraman and audio technician to interview Jamie Ross, a cold, miserable December rain soaked the three of us within the first five minutes of filming our opening exterior shot. We remained soggy and chilled for the remainder of the day. That bone-numbing rain, however, turned out to be a great blessing, as the images we captured of water pummeling the roof and cascading into the studio, added poignancy to the story.

The rain not only inspired the opening notes of the piano piece I composed to start the film, it adds a rich texture to the film's ambient sound throughout the documentary. Indeed, I would have invariably created a different story, composed a different score, if the day had been brisk and sunny. I don't believe that version would have been as strong.

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